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After being sued by New York Attorney General Letitia James, Donald Trump's best possible defense is going put him in an awkward position.
That was explained on Saturday when MSNBC's Alicia Menendez interviewed New York Times business investigations editor David Enrich. He is the author of the new book Servants of the Damned: Giant Law Firms, Donald Trump, and the Corruption of Justice and the 2020 book Dark Towers: Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump, and an Epic Trail of Destruction.
"David, this week, Trump's former attorney and fixer, Michael Cohen, said this fraud lawsuit could put an end to the Trump organization," Menendez said. "Given all you know about Trump's business dealings, do you agree?"
"You know, it's really hard to say," Enrich replied.
"I think the reality is that Trump had such a reputation for being an outlandish, exaggerating liar that his banks knew about this," he explained. "And I've talked to people inside Deutsche Bank, which was the primary lender to Trump over the years, and they were well aware that he was exaggerating his financials and they took steps to markdown his value of assets accordingly."
"And so that's a problem if you're trying to make a fraud claim because everyone knows you're lying and your fraud claim, -- it means you are basically not tricking anyone," Enrich said. "I think it's likely going to be the argument that Trump uses in court."
"Obviously, it's a little bit counter to the image of the public image that Trump tries to project and so, I think the biggest challenge for him in that regard, is that he's going to have to swallow some of his pride, in the courtroom, at least, to make that argument, effectively," he said. "And that's not something I'm sure he will be able to stomach."
David Enrich www.youtube.com
O’Rourke spoke for an hour Saturday with The New Yorker staff writer Lawrence Wright during the third day of The Texas Tribune Festival. His appearance came with less than two months until the November election, when he is challenging the Republican incumbent.
O’Rourke is currently behind Abbott by 7.5 percentage points in the RealClearPolitics polling average. A Spectrum News/Siena College survey released Wednesday found O’Rourke losing to Abbott, 50% to 43%, among likely voters.
Speaking with Wright, O’Rourke repeated the age-old political maxim that the only poll that matters is the one on Election Day. He also pointed out that in his blockbuster 2018 U.S. Senate race, he outperformed polls by finishing within 3 percentage points of Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz.
“I take these polls with a grain of salt,” O’Rourke said of the latest surveys.
O’Rourke said he’s betting on a big turnout of voters who disagree with Texas’ recent abortion restrictions in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade. He pointed out that voters have been energized by the issue of abortion rights in places like Kansas, which held a referendum on abortion rights in August and gave Democrats a win by an unexpectedly large margin.
O’Rourke doesn’t regret confronting Abbott in Uvalde
Responding to an audience question, O’Rourke suggested he did not regret interrupting an Abbott news conference in the days following the Uvalde school shooting in May.
“No, I don’t regret being there,” O’Rourke said. “I wanted to fight for those families in Uvalde, for our families across the state. The best time to stop the next school shooting is right now.”
At the May 25 news conference, O’Rourke stood up and walked toward the stage as he blamed the shooting on Abbott’s refusal to consider new gun restrictions. The confrontation drew an angry response from the Republicans onstage with Abbott, including Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin, who called O’Rourke a “sick son of a b*tch.”
O’Rourke has campaigned heavily on reining in gun violence after the Uvalde massacre. He has focused most intently on raising the age to buy an assault rifle from 18 to 21, a proposal that Abbott has argued would be “unconstitutional.” Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan, R-Beaumont, said Friday at the Tribune Festival that his chamber will not pass any proposal to raise the age, saying the “votes aren’t there.”
O’Rourke promises Democrats he won’t let them down in South Texas
Democrats got a wakeup call in 2020 in South Texas, a predominantly Hispanic region where President Joe Biden underperformed significantly. O’Rourke said Republicans “showed up with a very strong, compelling economic message” and former President Trump offered a “false choice” between keeping businesses closed and reopening them during the coronavirus pandemic.
“What did we have on our side? Nothing,” O’Rourke said. “Candidate Biden didn’t spend a dime or a day in the Rio Grande Valley — or really anywhere in Texas, for that matter — once we got down to the homestretch of the general election.”
O’Rourke said Democrats also erred by campaigning remotely during the pandemic while Republicans stumped in person.
Now Republicans are aggressively targeting South Texas, both in the governor’s race and down-ballot contests.
“I am making sure that we do not commit the same sin as some Democrats before me have committed, which is take voters of color — Black voters and Latinos — for granted,” O’Rourke said.
O’Rourke noted that his fluency is Spanish is a “competitive advantage,” promising to participate in a fully Spanish debate regardless of whether Abbott shows up.
Notorious GOP dirty trickster Roger Stone lashed out on Saturday ahead of Wednesday's public hearing by the House Select Committee Investigating the Jan. 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol.
"As the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol enters the final months of its inquiry, panel member Rep. Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland, teased Friday that the panel would likely reveal more of its findings related to longtime Trump ally Roger Stone," CBS News reported. "According to a report by Politico, committee aides in August traveled to Copenhagen, Denmark, to review documentary footage related to Stone. A team of Danish filmmakers followed Stone for over two years, over a period that included Jan. 6, 2021, when Trump supporters violently stormed the Capitol."
Wednesday's hearing will not be in primetime, but instead will begin at 1 p.m. eastern.
"I think there might be some clues that surface from the new information we got there," Raskin said at the Texas Tribune Festival in Austin in an interview with CBS News correspondent Robert Costa.
CBS News reported, "The Maryland Democrat and former constitutional law professor identified Stone, along with other Trump allies like Michael Flynn and Steve Bannon, as someone who 'was interfacing with the underworld of domestic violence extremists.' Asked how Stone figures in the Jan. 6 story, Raskin replied, 'stay tuned' — but told Costa that Stone 'saw where things were going.'"
Stone lashed out at the report on Donald Trump's Truth Social website.
"A fresh load of BS to be delivered Wednesday," Stone predicted. "Any claim or assertion that I knew in advance about, participated in or condoned any illegal act on January 6 is categorically false. The campaign of 'guilt by association' is obviously going to continue."
"Will this fake pasted up BS never end?" Stone wondered. "Raskin is a congenital liar and con-man like [Adam] Schiff."
\u201cU.S. Rep. @jamie_raskin joins us at #TribFest22 for a live conversation moderated by @costareports on the Jan. 6 investigation and more. Tune in here. https://t.co/Ex8fVSq8Yi\u201d— Texas Tribune (@Texas Tribune) 1663965024